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Protestors against quarantine orders, Lansing, Michigan, April 15. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A group of states across the Midwest is the latest to announce a joint regional plan to reopen businesses in the wake of stay-at-home efforts designed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The big picture: President Trump is expected to tell governors on Thursday that he won't hold them back if they want to restart their state economies, Axios' Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen report.

  • Northeastern states, including those hardest hit by the virus, like New York and New Jersey, announced a regional task force to guide the easing of coronavirus restrictions on Monday.
  • Western states including California, Oregon and Washington teamed up earlier this week on a plan to lift lockdowns as conditions permit.

Details: The governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky say they will focus on four factors to reopen their states: (1) controlling new infections and hospitalizations; (2) virus testing and tracing; (3) gauging whether hospitals can manage another virus surge; and (4) how to handle social distancing at work.

What they're saying: “Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region," the governors said in a statement. "This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”

The bottom line: Leading coronavirus modeling has recently lowered its projection for the number of American deaths from COVID-19, a sign that social distancing is working.

Go deeper: Michigan protesters rally over Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Soldiers seize power in Burkina Faso as global coup surge continues

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso declared on state television Monday that they had deposed the government, closed the borders, and taken control of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has reportedly been arrested.

The big picture: This would be the third successful military coup in west Africa in eight months, after juntas took power last year in Guinea and in neighboring Mali.

3 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.